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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Update: Kiefer Sutherland Headed to Weyburn, Canada for Unveilling of Tommy Douglas Statue

Update: Kiefer Sutherland Headed to Weyburn for Unveiling of
Tommy Douglas Statue on Friday Sept 10, 2010
By PAMELA ROTH, Leader-Post September 7, 2010 5:21 PM
Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland

Photograph by: Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images files

REGINA — Kiefer Sutherland is coming to Weyburn, but likely for less than 24 hours.

Sutherland, a Canadian actor, producer and director, is the grandson of former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, and will be representing the Douglas family at the unveiling of a life-size Tommy Douglas statue in Weyburn on Friday.

Douglas represented the Weyburn constituency during his time as premier from 1944 to 1961, but he is most commonly known for bringing universal health care to Canada.

In the eyes of world-renowned sculptor Lea Vivot, Douglas was a true inspiration and one of the reasons she is proud to be Canadian.

She became so inspired by his list of accomplishments, which lead him to being voted as "The Greatest Canadian" in a national television competition, that Vivot wrote a letter to the Weyburn Review, indicating she wanted to build or create a statue of Douglas.

The people of Weyburn responded to Vivot's request and raised more than $30,000 to cover the cost of materials to cast the bronze sculpture.

In turn, Vivot waved her regular professional fee and began working on her sculpture.

"I was in awe and admiration of his achievements for what he's done and how he influenced every Canadian life. I wanted to immortalize the immortal," said Vivot, a Toronto-area artist. "His contribution not only to Canada, but life in general was monumental."

Even though she had never met Douglas, Vivot felt connected to him through his ideology and the "good it did for common man."

She wanted to capture the feeling of his soul, so she listened to his speeches, looked at photographs and went to work from there.

More than two years later, her masterpiece was complete.

"I know that he was a preacher at the beginning and then he became a politician, so I wanted to somehow portray him in that stage in between," said Vivot, who's already planning on doing another sculpture of Douglas sitting on a bench somewhere in Saskatchewan, but she would not disclose the location.

"I hope people will respect what he did and what he achieved. I had a dream and I had this vision. I am so touched and glad that the community and citizens of Weyburn allowed me to do this. Weyburn is deserving to have it because they wanted and worked for it."

Ross McMurtry and Isabelle Butters formed the committee to help raise funds for the statue.

McMurtry said it was the least the city could do to honour one of the greatest Canadians in history.

"If there was going to be a Canadian statue, it's going to be of Tommy Douglas," he said. "Where would be more appropriate than the community he served for so many years?"

Sutherland is best known for his portrayal of Jack Bauer on the television drama series 24.

He will be representing his mother, Shirley Douglas, a successful Canadian actress born in Weyburn.

The statue unveiling will take place at the Riverfront Boardwalk at 3 p.m.

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